The Wyoming Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness in Fremont County, according to a news release Friday.

The department has received reports of multiple clusters of gastroenteritis in different places including child care centers and schools.

The department did not cite any specific source, such as food or baby animals, as sources for the gastroenteritis, but the outbreak is still under investigation.

State Epidemiologist Alexia Harrist said the Department of Health has received no similar reports in Natrona County.

So far in Fremont County, most ill persons have reported bloody diarrhea lasting at least three days, fever, nausea, and some vomiting.

Some patients have tested positive for infection with Salmonella.

However, not all ill persons have Salmonella infection, and it is likely that not all clusters of illness are related to each other.

If you or a family member are ill and feel that you need medical attention, please contact or see your healthcare provider. They will be able to determine the need for testing and treatment. Most gastrointestinal infections do not need to be treated with antibiotics.

The Wyoming Department of Health is contacting persons that have attended child care facilities and schools where children have been ill.

Salmonella is a bacteria that makes people sick. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most individuals recover without treatment.

In some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, and then to other body sites. In these cases, Salmonella can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

If you have additional questions for the Wyoming Department of Health about this outbreak, please call Katie Bryan at (307) 241-2319.